It is that time of year again; Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up fast and many people will be getting together with extended families. I know how stressful it can be to just plan and prepare dinner… not to mention decorating and/or cleaning your house if the get together is at your home. If the family gathering is out of town, you have all the packing and all the things that leaving your home for a couple of days or more entail; as well as the traveling to do.
I’ve decided to use humor to help us get through this holiday season’s family gatherings. I promise to write a more serious holiday survival guide before Thanksgiving. Who knows you might be able to use these tips; and sometimes… humor is the only way to survive the holidays.
Let’s break it down by the family members that cause so much tension during the holidays.
Mother and/or Mother-in-law
Many people are lucky to think of their mothers or mothers-in-law as their best friend. In many cases though, mothers and mothers-in-law are the single biggest person of contention for us. If you have a mother or mother-in-law that is over-bearing, their way is the only way or has a narcissist personality, to name a few, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, many of us know the stress this type of person can be on a good day… add in all the pressure of a holiday and well – it can be more than we can handle sometimes. Here are a few tips on how to handle those too annoying mothers and mothers-in-law:
- If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em - If your mom or mother-in-law likes to tell you how you should do things or implies she could do it better- start telling her how you would/could do whatever she is doing better. Start annoying her back. Sometimes they do things to get a rise out of you; so don’t let them see you sweat. Give it right back to them… but better. You will be giving her a taste of her own medicine.
- Ignore her - Pretend she is invisible… do not respond not matter what she says or does. This may be hard to do sometimes. I remember my mom telling me as a child that if someone was bothering me to just ignore them. She said this would irritate them more because they were doing things to get my attention; so ignoring them would be the worse thing I could do. So when your mother or mother-in-law starts in… ignore her.
- Drink – get sloshed; get numb. Get drunk and she won’t get to you. Maybe you’ll just laugh at everything.
Father and/or Father-in-law
This special man in your life can be a strong and loving role model. However, if you are one of the unfortunate ones, that have a father or father-in-law that is loud, obnoxious, flirty, self-righteous or any other irritating trait then you are not alone in dreading the holidays. Try these tips out while around your father/father-in-law this Thanksgiving or Christmas:
- Avoidance – try to stay clear of him. Take an Ipod or book for example, and hide out in the bathroom. Conveniently come down with a stomach bug. This works best if there is two or more bathrooms.
- Pretend – this is closely related to the above tip. In this situation, claim to have strep throat or some other contagion and you don’t want to breathe on them. This can keep him at a distance.
- Drink – get sloshed; get numb. Get drunk and he won’t get to you. Maybe you’ll just laugh at everything.
Brother or Brother-in-law and/or Sister or Sister-in-law
Siblings and siblings-in-law can really try your patience. Sibling rivalry is commonplace. During the holidays a brother or sister can really step on some nerves. Do you have a brother or sister that are the favorites? The perfect can’t do anything wrong brother or sister? Or do you have the whining brother or sister that never takes responsibility for their actions? This Thanksgiving and/or Christmas try these tips out:
- Be childish – if things get too stressful with a sibling revert to your childhood. Resort to name calling, and those ever popular phrases like "I know you are, but what am I" and "I’m rubber you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you." You can also cry and/or have a temper tantrum, this especially works if you want to have all the attention.
- Avoidance – this one works well for siblings and siblings-in-law. Once again just hide away in the bathroom proclaiming a stomach bug. Sometimes it’s best to just avoid those that stress us. Especially at family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Drink – get sloshed; get numb. Get drunk and he won’t get to you. Maybe you’ll just laugh at everything. As the Pink Floyd song says get "comfortably numb".
I’ve covered the family members that generally cause the most discomfort during family gatherings; I know there are other relatives that can irritate us, like crazy aunts and uncles or the obnoxious distant cousin. You can use these tips on any and all family members as needed.
Please, take these tips in the light in which they were given. I find humor to be a great way to deal with things and sometimes (like holiday gatherings) it’s best to laugh… or else you might be cry.
Next week I’ll give you a more serious and realistic survival guide for your holiday get togethers. Until then try to find some humor in your upcoming holiday festivities.
If you have a humorous tip on how to deal with a family member during the holidays… please share it with us. We would love to hear it!